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A vegetable garden on the moon?

A vegetable garden on the moon?

The French Center for Space Studies (CNES) has announced its desire to develop agricultural technologies on the Moon to ensure food independence for the astronauts brought to settle permanently on this hostile Earth, it announced Thursday.

Far future human missions, to the Moon and Mars, “force us to project ourselves and consider a new paradigm of complete autonomy,” declared Alexis Paillet, project leader of the CNES SpaceShip FR, which explores various space technologies in partnership. With the European Space Agency (ESA) Terrae Novae programme.

Currently, on board the International Space Station (ISS), “the astronauts’ diet consists mainly of freeze-dried meals and heated dishes brought by a cargo ship from Earth,” located 400 kilometers away, the French space agency confirms in a press release. .

This mode of supply is not possible for distant expeditions, “growing food becomes necessary to pursue human exploration,” according to the CNES.

On the occasion of the Bourges air show, near Paris, he presented technology for “sustainable and healthy feeding” of the occupants of a lunar base from the year 2035, or even passengers of a base on Mars.

It’s a spiral structure that acts as an above-ground support for plant seeds, where lunar soil is infertile, explained Maylis Radonde, director of product development at Timac Agro, the fertilizer and animal feed company chosen by CNES for the project.

This “spire”, which “condenses several meters from the roots to a few centimeters”, is composed of lunar soil (regolith) and bio-source material (organic waste in particular).

They can be made on site by 3D printing, also work with regolith, and are reusable and biodegradable.

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Miles Radond asserts that the system will use “30 times less water and 100 times less energy than a conventional farming system”.

And according to Timac Agro, part of the seed stock, brought from the ground, will be kept for reproduction.

Located in Saint-Malo (NW), this subsidiary of the Rollier Group has been questioned by several residents who have decried air pollution caused by emissions from its animal feed plant.